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Poster: billydlions Date: Jan 3, 2010 8:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Hey Tell, I guess most people like the youthful sound of Jerry's voice circa 1970? Putting the harmonies aside (and since the question was specifically related to Jerry's singing) I'm going to say that I preferred the sound of his voice in 1977 when I though it had a more mature sound, yet still not effected by the problems Cliff accurately pointed out in 1978, and then the total decline which I believe really started in 1983. I think it's again no different than arguing which eras we like better- it's all personal preference. I'm not saying his voice was better, had more range (which he clearly didnt), just that to my ears I liked a little more roughness to his singing, which I think added to the ballads that he sang. As for 1978, he clearly had changed his style and his way of enunciating, which I am not sure why, nor do I believe made him a better singer.

By the way, last week I was listening to 5-2-70 which I just recd, and my 14 yr old daughter, who is used to me listening to my usual era (1977-1982), commented that she hated the singing! In fact, she didnt even realize it was the GD and went out of her way to say she didnt like the singing as compared to what she's heard before. I told her this was the sound of the early years which I guess she wasn't used to hearing.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 3, 2010 9:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Yeah, I can see that--the maturity factor, and in spite of my commentary always sounding so biased toward "early in anything is always better", it could defn be a plus (ie, that someone does sound better vocally in their 30s or 40s say).

Clearly he could still sound good, maybe even better going with the maturity factor, in the late 70s and maybe even 80s: some of the songs from the studio show that, right? Like Althea and such...

I always think that the studio, when they could take it easy, retake, practice, etc., etc., is the real indicator, and there you do have some decent output from Jerry in late 70s and 80s.

I guess though that the touring was more and more taxing, and he just couldn't keep it up in those last couple of yrs I was seeing him (79-82) due to the problems outlined above. But, as you and Jlouey point out, if given the time and rest, he could still sound great.

So, in the "best of all conditions" scenario, as you properly note, it would be "do you like young Jerry" or "do you like mature Jerry" and be just preference.

That's one reason these discussions always get off on the "wrong track" in that I may see the question, ignore the "best case" and just think "hmmm, take five early era acoustic sets against five tour nights I saw in 82, and it's a no brainer" or whatever...